Across the Anacostia River, the Anacostia Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to Cedar Hill
, the estate of the great Frederick Douglass. Watch an inspiring film about the abolitionist’s life and take a tour, gaining access to the handsome library where the famous author’s writings took shape is an unforgettable experience for visitors with literary/historical interests. Don’t leave Anacostia without stopping at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum
for more insight into African American history and culture. The museum examines the impact of historical and contemporary social issues on urban communities.
Once back on the D.C. “mainland,” stop by Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church
, the oldest continuously Black-owned property in downtown Washington. Constructed by black artisans in 1886, this beautiful, exalting structure is open to the public. Now it’s time to learn about more heroes in our nation’s history. In honor of its namesake , educator-presidential-advisor-community-organizer-activist-hero, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
shows visitors a video presentation about her extraordinary life, dedicated to the tireless pursuit of “unalienable rights of the citizenship for Black Americans.”
Five minutes away is the profoundly moving African American Civil War Memorial
, bearing the names of more than 209,000 African American soldiers and their white officers. This is also the address of the African American Civil War Museum
, which tells the story of the United States Colored Troops and African American involvement in the American Civil War. (Note: The museum is open by appointment only.)
A short walk to U Street—formerly known as “Black Broadway”—will work up an appetite, and happily brings you to a DC culinary institution. The original location of Ben’s Chili Bowl
, a landmark since 1958, is renowned for chili so good it earned a prestigious James Beard award. Moving with the times, Ben’s recently began accommodating vegetarian and vegan diners with plant-based versions of its signature half-smoke and chili dog, whose original recipes haven’t changed since they first set D.C. diners drooling.
The historic Lincoln Theatre
, built in 1921, staged performances by international headliners such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Pearl Bailey. Reopened in 1994, the theater now serves as a performing arts center. One metro stop away is Howard University, alma mater of Vice President Kamala Harris. One of the nation’s most distinguished historically black institutions of higher learning, its Howard University Gallery of Art
is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive representations of black artists.